The Tiny Big Houses – Part 5: The Big Houses

Music by Dante S. Ryu, 2016

By Christina Ryu

Li walked for days down the hill, for a while there was forest around him, then he was out in the open and the mountain was steeper. It was hard to make his way through, he had to climb, and luckily he had brought his rope. At night he usually made a fire. He tried hard not to look back, not to see the darkness in the past but to focus on the tiny big houses, which got bigger every day.

Finally, he was so close to them and he could see that his mother had been right about them, they were big. He was amazed by the huge stone houses which stood in front of him. The noise was also something new to him. He was so used to the sound of nature not the sound of humans. The village seemed full of life. He started to walk slowly on the road that seemed to go straight through the village. He was fascinated by everything; he had never seen anything like this before. He wished to tell his mother and he was about to turn around and remembered the shadow that was following him. He kept his eyes on his surroundings and he was shocked about what he saw. The flowers that people had put inside their houses in the windows for example. Why did they do that? Why did they steal the flowers from nature?

At first he could only hear the people and see their homes. Soon he saw them as well, they looked happy, they walked around smiling, talking to each other. Everyone seemed to be one his or her way. First they didn’t see Li, but then someone saw him and froze. One after one they all stopped and turned their faces towards him. They all had the same look of confusion and fear. No one said anything for a long time. Li then carefully took a step forward as he did, all the people in front of him took a step back. He didn’t understand what was wrong, they were humans and he was human, they were the same.

The silence suddenly broke by one girl taking a step forward, she had long hair, it was dark as the other people’s hair and so were their eyes. She said: Please don’t hurt us! Li was even more confused. It took him a while before he replied: I’m not here to hurt you. I am… he thought about it and then continued: a friend. The girl looked at him suspiciously: Let us see your face. Li shook his head. No, he never showed his face. The girl took one more step towards him and the others did the same. It seemed like they had recovered from their frozen state. Li felt smaller than ever, he continued to shake his head, something that seemed to make the people more curious. They were almost bending down to catch a glance about what was underneath his hat. The girl had almost reached him, he wanted to back, but he couldn’t the shadow was right behind him. He was surrounded he had no choice but to stand still and let the girl come so close that she could take his hat. He tried to take it back but she was much taller than him. When the hat was off he could hear the people grasping for air. He could hear their voices: His hair. Golden. Brown eyes. Just like her. Is it her son? He was just a boy called Li, who was short. He wanted to tell them. But they all seemed to know something else about him. Something about his golden hair and brown eyes. He wished it meant something good but then the voices got louder: Go back. Go back from where you came from. Go back to your witch of a mother. They all came closer, tried to force him to go back but he couldn’t he could feel the coldness of the shadow right behind him waiting to consume him. He didn’t know what to do so his instincts took over. He raised his hands, became one with nature forcing the water in his surrounding rise. The people stopped in fear when they saw what was happening. Li gathered the water into small balls in his hands and then he started to shot at their feet. He didn’t want to hurt anyone but they didn’t know. They screamed and ran as the road got slippery by the water. He started to make his way forward, keeping the people at a distance. He had to leave. He now knew why his mother had chosen to live alone in the mountains – she was different. She didn’t fit in here and she had tried to tell him that but he hadn’t listened. He had been too curious about the world. Now he understood. Now he also knew that he had to continue to walk alone. He made his way through the village and stood at the end, where he saw a rocky road laid before him. His mother had said there was nothing beyond what they could see from the mountain, but since he couldn’t stay and couldn’t go back he had to choose nothing. He took the rocky road away.

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